This has been a surprisingly great Fringe for me. Despite working full time I’ve managed to hit 26 shows (only 5 off my all time best,) caught a number of outdoor shows/bands and had an overall great time. I’m definitely missing some of my old fringing crew though so I think next year’s mission is to introduce at least 3 new people to fringing and try to get them out for multiple nights. I know, I know, I’m just getting older.
Outside Joke Breaks all the Rules (Venue 20, Rudolph Rocker Community Centre)
Back again with friends things were going incredibly well until the final applause when my chair decided to collapse under me. I could feel it shifting a bit during the show so I was holding carefully still until the finale when… thwump! Unfortunately the troupe also shared the monumentally shitty news that Leif is heading off to Edmonton leaving them (and DNDimprov) without their gifted musical component. Hope you come back for Fringe at least next year Leif.
Folk Lordz (Venue 20, Rudolph Rocker Community Centre)
Another talented improv group, this one with a style predicated on use of their heritage. Given the makeup of the group this made for a Cree origin story, a Chekhov theatre of the depressing drama and a third suggested by the audience which for this show was the world of breakfast cereal mascots. In my opinion the cree section hit the best notes despite a few odd and inspired jokes in the cereal storyline. The Chekhov drama ends up a little one-note in my opinion as turning it into a ~15 minute joke story essentially means hammering the drama of bleakness thing repeatedly. These guys are super talented though and combined with OJ and Hip!Bang made RRCC the place to be for improv this Fringe.
DNDImprov (Venue 16, Gas Station Arts Centre)
I love the final show. I love the bloodbath aspect as more or less everyone is killed off (particularly this year.) I love the party atmosphere among the fans of the show and I love the way the cast comes out to watch the end and interact with the audience. Unfortunately I also felt that this year’s edition kind of petered out storyline wise at the end. I appreciate that they were trying to do something different but in the end it just felt like we ended with a series of battles then flipped the switch rather than the “quest has ended” feel of previous years.
The fact that it went 20 mins overtime and the wrapup was rushed didn’t help either. Honestly guys, can’t we work out a special deal with the fringe where your last show is 90-120 mins? It’s not like you aren’t in a BYOV. Special shout out to the losers in the audience who feel the need to constantly yell out unfunny things , nobody’s here to listen to you, you aren’t funny, please shut up. That proposed redesign of the GSAC space can’t come soon enough either as those chairs get more terrible every year.
Lest my negativity overwhelm things let me say that the finale was still one of my favourite nights of the fringe and I hope the tradition continues. The cast is ridiculously talented and they bring the funny every night they perform.
Overheard in line (day 11): “Try not to break your chair this time.”
Highlight of the Day/Recommendations:
DnDImprov was the perfect way to end the fringe
Leaflets/handbills rec’d: 84 (I’m being environmentally responsible this year and turning away duplicates when I recognize them)
It’s oveeeeer L